sent in by John
My story begins when I was three years old, my mother, who just left my father, rededicates herself to God through her connection to her church, The Church of Christ, and dedicates her children as a gift to God... This comes as some friends from this church help her to kick an amphetamine habit.
When I was nine, one Sunday morning in 1973, my mother explains to me that I must obey God today, that I was a "footstool of the Lord" and that I had no choice but to be baptized today... At church, she pushed me down the aisle, but I told the minister my mother made me do this and asked him to talk to her... He lectured her about when a child was ready for baptism... My mother soon placed membership in another Church of Christ in the area and asked the minister and elders to talk with me.
This started in earnest in 1975, when I was 12... Gospel Meeting, a visiting minister wanted to meet all the eligible "young people"... When he was told by an acquaintance that I haven't obeyed my God, he declared loudly "we'll make a Christian of him before the week is out"... I endured five nights of being singled out by name, reading bible verses out loud with him, and standing through seven stanza invitation hymns while that itinerant minister, the church's minister, and numerous others stare and beck at me to walk down the aisle... I stood firm... after the end of night five, that guest minister confronted me coming out the auditorium, and I let him have it... I told him if HE was an example of how a Christian acted, I never want to be one... I also told the minister I wasn't coming back. However, my mother threatened physical discipline and hell, and the church's minister apologized for the incidents... so I went back... Things got quieter, until we got a new church minister...
My mother harangued me to be baptized at least once or twice a day... The minister did it most every Sunday, my class instructor, was at it at least every other Sunday and I sat through it because I wanted to keep peace in my family... My two younger brothers did it at age 10, one to not ruffle feathers, the other to shut them all up... I had issues with that other brother, I felt he was either caving in or maybe playing games with them... Anyway when it happened, my mother, the minister, and a few acquaintances publicly challenged me to follow suit at that service... I told them no.
The last straw came in 1978, when I turned 16... They added a new tack... In a Wednesday night class, I was asked about my new girlfriend, the questions quickly turned provocative... What was her affiliation??? Why don't you bring her to your church??? When it got to "What's wrong with OUR girls???" I opened fire... I told them what was wrong with each girl, girl by girl... I then told them what was wrong with bringing my girl to that church and with the church itself... The teacher left for five minutes, returned and we were marched into the auditorium.
The minister gave a blistering sermon about unproductive members and how they were cut off "from the vine", followed by another seven stanza invitation hymn... I knew where I stood... I told the minister that that was one of the most interesting and revealing sermons I ever heard him give, walked out the door and never came back... My mother came back at me about it and I threatened legal emancipation action (I found out later, I might have had a good chance of getting it)...I told her I was NEVER going back to the Churches of Christ for any reason and if she kept assaulting me emotionally and physically about it, I would take legal action.
The following year, I was on my own, and never felt so free.
Joined at: Good question... Might have been in my twenties, might have been never, depends on who and which Christian sect you ask
Left at 34
Was: Church of Christ, Episcopal, Neo-Pagan
Now: I try to avoid that these days
Converted because: fear
De-converted because: freedom